Self-Care Saturday: Take a Hike!

No, I’m not saying to go away! Don’t leave! Wait! I’m just making a bad joke! Whew. Okay, now that you’re here…

Part of self-care is getting exercise. The benefits are far too many to list here, and not the subject of this post. Exercise doesn’t have to mean “work out in spin class at a gym and/or lift all the weights.” It can be gentle, and for people like me, that’s a great thing! My arthritis would wreck me for days if I tried either of those options.

Taking a walk is a great alternative for lots of reasons. A walk can be accomplished almost anywhere, and at any time of the day. It can be 5 minutes or 50, over hills, or crossing mostly level terrain, and aside from the worst of weather conditions a walk can still be done.

The benefits of walking go far beyond obvious items, such as weight loss or improved circulation. Did you know:

  • Walking releases hormones that combat the toxic hormonal mess sent into your system by an anxiety attack.
  • A 10-minute walk can (according to some studies) provide as much benefit as a 45-minute workout.
  • That same walk can relieve anxiety symptoms for hours.
  • Walking makes your bones stronger and improves flexibility and strength in your spine.
  • Daily walks, even if short, can alleviate symptoms of arthritis and prevent both the pain and need for medication.

I enjoy taking walks. It’s free and I can sink into my own little world for a few minutes.

My preferred method for taking a walk to temper anxiety and depression is to pull up a playlist of songs that lift my mood, whether that means venting frustration, relieving depression, or evoking energy. I put my phone on do not disturb, put on the headphones, and I’m off. While I prefer not to have a time limit, if I do have one, I simply set a timer to tell me when to head back.

Take care of yourself this weekend. Give yourself permission to take even five minutes to yourself and take a hike!

(Okay, now you can go!)

 

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